Thursday, January 30, 2014

a clean start

The same weekend I cleaned out and reorganized my closet I tacked my bedroom as well. It is a wonderfully spacious, if odd room to have. There are lots of windows but also three regular doorways and then the glass double doors leading to the living room which I have to contend with. There aren't a lot of different ways I can lay out the space so I just stuck with a general cleaning.
Along with cleaning the floors and lots of dusting (the dust bunnies here grow so very swiftly) I flipped the mattress, put freshly washed sheets on the bed and switched out my dark blue duvet cover for a new fresh white one. I also added some more plants because I seem to be unable to say no every time I walk by Cole Hardware, and I had the movie theater seats that were originally in the living room that I moved in here to the foot of my bed. I use my computer monitor as a tv and it's surprisingly fun to watch movies in actual theater seats! Now if only they had a cupholder...

I decided a while ago that I didn't need the door to the right of my bed to actually function (I figure two exits from my room is enough) so I blocked it off with the nightstand and an old chair I am currently using as a plant stand. On the wall is my ever growing collection of photobooth pictures which I have corralled in some white Ikea frames. Above my headboard is the pinata and where the wild things are banner that I combined a while ago. They continue to make me smile so I've kept them both there.

Just some little snipets from my bedside table. The spray painted tray holds my collection of pocket dictionaries (English, French and Italian currently) with a vintage elephant pincushion as well as my lotion and perfume. I have a small dish for jewelery and whatever pins I extract from my hair when I get into bed, as well as my alarmclock and some white jars which hold spare change until I feel up to counting and rolling it all up, as well as quarters for laundry.

On the other side of the room is my desk and a 2x4 expedit which holds books as well as bins full of fabric, ribbons and trims and all of my media ( movies and music). My dress form moves around the room but is currently living next to the window. Since my desk is long enough I've chosen to have my sewing machine live in the far corner permanently (preferable to having to lug it out of a box every time I need to use it) which is a much enjoyed luxury. I am currently looking for a better desk chair (right now I am using an old wooden kitchen chair with a cushion and it is very uncomfortable after working all day) but it is incredibly hard to find something that is both comfortable and good looking so for now, the search continues.

To the left of my desk is my craft paper wall. I used mini binder clips to attach pictures and a few notes I needed to remember as well.I store all my wrapping and decorative papers in a metal trash bin I found at the container store. I would of course prefer to have an entirely separate room for my studio work space, and I know it is bad feng shui to have your work and sleep spaces together, but I have tried to take advantage of the size and length of the room so that I could carve out two distinct and separate spaces to try to negate that as much as possible. Overall it has been working for me very well (and honestly I've been in much (MUCH) smaller spaces that this before where I both slept and worked so I feel that this is a vast improvement. It also means I am much more motivated to keep the desk and in fact the whole space clean and uncluttered and I have found that I have been extra productive here so it seems to be working out well.

Monday, January 27, 2014

on safari

It was a busy and productive weekend, but until I get the last finishing touches put on some projects so that I can share, here's a little peak at what was wandering across my desk the last few days.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Two new plants. One is very tall and the other short. I feel like I could make this into a nursery rhyme....

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A reorganizing of the closet

It wasn't an impossible mess but after six months and change in my apartment I was noticing that my closet was NOT staying clean. This is the first time in my life I've ever had this much space and my reaction seemed to be to just shove everything in there. It started with the best intentions and I definitely had some good systems but it all needed to be reassessed and it's a new years so time for a (very brutally honest) closet purge as well. This is what the closet looked like before I got started, not crazy but I did like to throw things on the floor/bench as I got dressed and undressed in stead of putting them where they belonged.
Luckily the January Cure was reading my mind and had last weekends project as a bedroom and closet clean out and reorganize (more on the bedroom later) so I figured I may as well go for it. My closet is a relatively big walk in space with one door to the hallway and a curtain separating it from the bedroom. There is a clothes rod along one wall with two long shelves above it and a window. I added a bench, a small table and a makeshift "dresser" of some sorts, with bins to hold socks and such when I moved in. I didn't want to buy anything else, just use what I had. I also use this space to store my suitcases, boxes for my sewing machine and computer, and most of my art supplies, fabric and portfolios so despite it's size, there is a lot of stuff that has to live here, and I have to both be able to access it easily, but also not have it get in the way of the space functioning as a beautiful walk in closet! 
So I rolled up my sleeves, sent out a message to a friend to come rescue me if I didn't emerge in 24 hours, put on some music and got to work.
When the dust cleared it looked more like this. 
Obviously a huge part of this was picking everything up off the floor and putting it back in drawers or on hangers. I was able to eliminate about two trash bags full of stuff now bound for the Goodwill and I fixed an alarming mending pile as well. Then I sorted the hanging clothes by type, (jackets, dresses, skirts, sweaters, blouses) and hung each garment type in color order. All of the bins were purged as well, pants and jeans were folded, some of the bulkier sweaters went away and the rest were reorganized and folded as well. I moved all my shoes around so that the most worn are all out and some of the pretty but less worn styles are displayed under the bench. 

I like to hang a favorite item on the door as decoration. As it is still January I picked this 1920's rabbit fur coat I was gifted, and also I like to pet it when I walk by! The white storage boxes above the hanging clothes have fabric (which was carefully sorted and folded and relabeled) as well as various party supplies and book projects. I made new hot pink labels for all the boxes to replace the old mismatched ones. I have a long mirror which fit right next to the window which I hung when I moved in, but I switched out the art above it and rearranged my hats which hang above the molding above the door and along that wall. There's also an old gold and black tassel garland from a previous apartment that I hung to the side of the doorway.

I would say in general that most of the decoration in this room was in the vein of "because I like it." That's how I picked the pepto pink paint color, gold accents, the antlers, fur and fake birds that adorn the walls. And finally in the corner by the door is my jewelry, accessories and basically just an indulgently pretty vignette for me to look at in the morning. The old foam wig form (which has been glittered previously from a black swan mask project) holds whichever vintage hat I'm feeling like at the time as well as sporting my father's pink polka dot wedding bow tie. The antlers got a floral update (I was feeling very springy) and the necklaces and earrings hanging on cup hooks below the shelf got straightened up as well. The table below was made by my mother and hold my collection of vintage beaded bags as well as a basket of printed silk scarves. And that's everything. Now is it weird that I sort of want to sit in here just to relax?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Living room revamp

One of the first big chores of the January Cure (I've been playing along with Apartment Therapy) was to clean all the floors in your house. I did this a few weekends ago and it really helped to jump start my desire for a generally cleaned up and reorganized apartment (I also had to appreciate the Cinderella moment while I was scrubbing the linoleum and the air was full of bubbles, despite a stunning lack of cute friendly animals to sing and keep me company). While the floors were drying I sat in my window seat and thought about the living room and what I may want to do with it.

I decided to switch out some furniture, just to try it out, and so I moved the theater seats in to my bedroom and the blue slip-covered love seat back into the living room. I also switched out a few accessories to add a bit more blue to the space and I took the paper chains from the holidays and made a curtain of sorts over the mirror which both blocks me from seeing my reflection each time I walk out of my bedroom, and makes a neat textured art installation as well.

I moved the bar around a little bit (mostly a matter of packing away all of the holiday napkins, glassware and straws) and added this vase I picked up at Anthropologie during a holiday sale and then promptly forgot, which was perfect for holding my set of vintage glass cocktail stir sticks and brought a touch of blue to the corner. the chalkboard got an updated message as well.

There was some pillow rearranging, and I added a blue quilt to the ottoman. I also brought in this plant from the kitchen. I am considering repainting both the top and stand of this side table but I haven't yet made a decision. I was thinking maybe a black top and orange legs? All gold? Since I am still waffling about I figured I'd continue living with it as is for now.

The record table also got a plant (which conveniently enough is in an orange pot) and one of my small herd of white dinosaurs had been hiding beneath it for a while. Overall the space feels refreshed after the chaos of the holidays, and bright, which is always nice to come home to in January when it's dark out before I even leave the office. I am still thinking on a better way to store the games under the record table (right now they languish in an unattractive pile) and it may soon be time to switch out art, but for now, it is clean and I'm ready to take a nap on the window seat.

Monday, January 20, 2014


<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

A landing zone

I decided to play along with the January Cure on Apartment Therapy and while I've been pretty good at doing the tasks I've been much less good about documenting and blogging them. Thought I would share real quick the landing zone in my house. I have a simple wooden accordion peg rack by the door and I hang my coat and keys on it when I walk into the apartment. I usually drop my purse on the floor below. This system has been the most successful way I've found of keeping track of these things because they never migrate further into the apartment I always know where to find them. As to mail, most of what I receive is personal or junk since all of my bills are paperless and most are on autopay, if I do get something important I bring that to my desk and usually deal with it immediately. If it needs to wait for any reason I have a giant gold paperclip that it lives in, which naturally draws my eye and reminds me that there is something I need to deal with. It's all pretty simple but it works and is pretty tidy so I see no reason to change it.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Just a little sewing project from last night (which I got to wear this morning) the penguins finally made it out of the to-sew pile and onto the sewing machine!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kitchen reveal!

My kitchen is finished!
This is very exciting as I do a fair amount of cooking and when I first viewed the apartment I was a little worried that I wasn't going to be able to turn this kitchen into a bright and cheerful space to work in. There are so many things that weren't going to be changeable from the odd layout to the old cabinets to most of the paint and hardware. There were strange shelves glued to the walls and electrical outlets in all sorts of inconvenient places. But after living with it for a few months and figuring out what it was that I needed to make the space most functional I made a list and got to work. You may recall from when I first moved in that the room was dark, with a red accent wall, appliances on top of the cabinets blocking the view from the sink and stove, and not enough storage or work space. 

I started by repainted the accent wall yellow and painting all the trim in the same semi gloss white as the rest of the apartment. This was the first thing I did in my kitchen makeover and it made me confident enough to move forward with the rest of the changes. I also had my handy father come in and plane down the sides of all of the cabinets so that they could close again. I have a feeling this kitchen has been repainted so many times it's gotten a bit smaller and of course that means the cabinet doors have gotten a bit bigger, so they would no longer close, which was disappointing but not so now!

On the subject of paint, I found that one of the most effective changes I could have made was painting the dark mismatched cabinet below the sink to match the white of the rest of the kitchen, and added hardware. I also painted all of the drawer pulls and cabinet hardware a brighter yellow to unify them as they were both of varying sizes and styles, and unfortunately painted over so many times they were un-removable from the cabinets themselves. I also removed several unused and mismatched shelves above the sink and relocated the paper towels to under the cabinets as well as adding a magnetic knife strip to make more space on the counter top.

To add more storage as well as work space, I installed two shelves in the empty space above the stove, and I had my helpfully handy father cut a shelf to fit next to it to utilize the empty space, and of course, more importantly, provide me with a place to put my pancake batter when I'm making breakfast.
I added a stainless steel work table to the space where the table and chairs used to be, which provided both storage and work space. The shelf holds pantry goods and dishes and the two vintage crates below were borrowed (permanently) from my parents and upgraded with castors to make it easier to get to my baking pans, and canning jars.

I took the microwave and toaster oven off of their  perches on the cabinets which made the view from one side of the kitchen to the other much more open and it now feels like a friendly space when friends keep me company while I cook. I moved both appliances to the wooden kitchen cart my roommate already had next to the door. I also added the wire grid over the no longer used ironing board closet so that I could store most of my tools where I could see them (this was probably inspired my watching Julie and Julia the night before I went to the container store and having Julia Child's pegboard kitchen on my mind).
Overall I feel I was able to make a space that I now enjoy working in with a pretty minimal budget.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


It has been a strange weekend, long weekend, couple of days. I have been quarantined at home recovering from the removal of all four of my wisdom teeth last week, only able to eat broth and mashed things and generally lie in bed like a beached whale watching inappropriate amounts of TV. I will get back to doing and making and all manner of cooking as well once I fully regain consciousness but I thought I would share this strange doodle painting that I made at some point Friday night or early Saturday morning. I was in a haze of pain killers but I somehow got out of bed and painted and drew these strange yellow shapes. I am not sure what they are or what my intentions may have been but they are definitely interesting.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

back to the drawing board

Back in the fall I decided I wanted to have some sort of surface on the wall on which I could list things, draw and maybe even start up a mood board. I found some dry erase board contact paper at the hardware store and figured I'd give it a shot. And while it worked for a while it wasn't ideal. It photographs better than it looked in person, because the seam down the middle is hard to capture on film. Also, either from the texture of the wall behind it or possibly just the nature of the contact paper, it was very hard to erase it cleanly. I had to use kitchen sponge to scrub it all away which kind of defeated the purpose. So I began thinking of other alternatives.
Much as I like chalkboards I wasn't ready to paint a bunch of black paint directly onto the wall, and in a perfect world it would be something easily removable, as this is an apartment. Amazingly while I was working on something else yesterday I thought of the perfect solution (I'm a very productive procrastinator).

I took a big roll of brown paper I already had on hand (purchased for a project which changed and required a different material) and ran a heavy cord through it and hung it from a molding picture hook. I weighted the bottom down with binder clips holding nickles to keep it from curling up (random but it works) and best of all, I can use a white china marker on the paper for a similar visual effect to chalk but it doesn't get dust all over everything (helpful since my dress form lives next to it). Overall this seems like an excellent solution for now. I figure when I fill up a sheet I can cut it off and roll out more. Might even be fun to document each length as it gets decorated....

Monday, January 6, 2014

Doing the January cure

I've decided to participate in Apartment Therapy's January cure since I found the August Cure to be so productive. The January cure is more about general organizing and cleaning but I still believe it will be very helpful. This weekends task was to clean all of the floor in the house (cue Cinderella music) which I did and my knees are still a bit sore but it is totally worth it because they look amazing! We were also supposed to get flowers but I decided to get a plant instead when I saw this magnificent umbrella tree at Cole Hardware. The next morning when I woke up it looked like a jungle.
I also made pancakes (no surprise there) and ate them on the roof in the sunshine. Here's to a lovely week!